Youngster Todd believes in ability to become senior figure at Lido
Since their infamous relegation from the JD Welsh Premier League, Afan Lido has become a breeding ground for young Welsh footballing talent.
Alex Gammond has left the club for a pro footballing career in Iceland, Carlos Indjai secured a move to JD Welsh Premier League outfit Llanelli Town, and former Swansea City academy graduate left the club to link up with Carmarthen Town.
Regardless of the player’s departures, the club has developed a knack for nurturing young talent and putting them on the right path for progress in recent seasons, and Jack Todd may be the latest name to join them.
The young striker joined the club’s academy after his release from Swansea City, much like his compatriot Sean Hanbury, and has slowly but surely risen through the ranks to become one of the brightest young talents in the club’s system.
Last season, as well as this summer, have been noteworthy for both club and player. After Wayne Davies led the club to a fifth placed finish, with a 50% win record that saw the club finish just eleven points behind second placed Penybont, and Todd was handed his debut by the man in charge.
But after Davies retired this summer, the club has undergone a mass overhaul and Todd remains one of few remaining members from last season’s squad. Under the tutelage of Davies, Todd made a name for himself as a bright talent in the Lido youth ranks and one for the future.
But, his talent has been one that has been obvious for sometime, having spent five seasons with Swansea City between the ages of 11 and 16. and has even achieved a Welsh Academy cap, as he turned out in his country’s colours against Republic of Ireland at Bala, something he looks back on as one of his finest days in the sport.
“Playing for the Swans was an amazing achievement and experience. Getting to play on the best pitches and against the best players was very enjoyable and has made me into a better player.”
“It was an amazing achievement for myself and a massive confidence booster. The experience of playing in big matches with a lot of people watching doesn’t come around all the time. The facilities we got to use were so different to what I’m used to so it was a great experience to be a part of it.”
However, like many academy players, Todd was released by the Swans.
The Welsh League continues to improve, but the standard of facilities does not stand up to those Todd will have played on during his time with the Sky Bet Championship club, and it was important for the striker to join the right club following his release, and the youngster chose Lido academy.
But, a condition of the academy system allows players to join the academy setup at one club in Wales and play their club football elsewhere on Saturdays.
Todd begun his junior football at Talycopa, before turning out for Garden Village prior to signing for the Swans. But, after joining Lido’s academy system, he signed for Pontardawe Town to continue to hone his development at junior age group level as well.
After spending two seasons in the Lido academy, Todd decided to leave Pontardawe to join the Port Talbot based side on a permanent basis.
The 19 year-old has started to solidify his status within the first team squad and last season he netted his first senior goal for the club against Goytre at the Marston Stadium, and upon reflecting on his time at Lido so far he believes he is at the right club for his development and that it is headed in the right direction.
“I chose Lido because I thought it would be the best way to start playing within the Welsh League academy with one of the biggest clubs,” the striker said.
“It is a massive club to be part of, which at my age is brilliant. I’ve been here for four years and it continues to improve. It’s always good to be play for a club where things constantly move forward.”
It is this attitude that has put Todd in good stead so far in his career. During the summer, the striker turns out on a regular basis for Clydach Cricket Club in Premiership 2 in the South Wales Cricket Association.
But, the striker’s firm focus is on football, and has lofty ambitions for his future in the sport.
“They fit in quite well with each other. As soon as football ends, cricket starts. As for my main sport, I would have to say football simply because I have achieved more and have played at a higher standard.”
It has been a summer of change at Lido under the leadership of Mark Robinson, but Todd remains after making the step up to senior football last term.
His experience may be limited at Welsh League level right now, but if one things is for certain, then it is that the Lido fans have a player they can get behind, and one who believes in his own ability to fulfil his talent in the red of Afan Lido.
“Obviously (I want) to play at the highest level possible and to score as many goals as I can when given the chance to.
“When given the chance last year towards the end of the season, I feel as if I performed well and grabbed a few goals. I feel as if I’m ready to step up to senior level for Lido and to do well.“